Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Rome's Observation

Today's edition of the Vatican's official newspaper has dropped... the headline on its post-elex analysis: "A choice that unites."

And its main news-piece hed: "'We are the United States of America': Benedict XVI's congratulations to the president-elect."

First off, a rush translation of the former piece, written by the papal daily's frequent contributor on foreign-affairs, Giuseppe Fiorentino:
At the end of the exchange, it is realized. The slogan that accompanied the entire campaign of Barack Obama found its expression in the electoral result that emerged over the night just past. America -- as its president-elect underscored in his victory speech given in Chicago -- is truly the land where anything can be achieved. America is truly the land of the new frontier, a frontier ever new and dynamic, able to conquer fractions and divisions that even a short while ago appeared insurmountable.

The United States -- and it isn't the first time -- has a way of being able to chart a new path for the rest of the world. Scores of soaring adjectives will be used for Obama's victory. His election will be compared, maybe even rightfully, to events like the fall of the Berlin Wall. But beyond the rhetoric, the significant element lies in regard to the greatest global power's choice to be guided by the politician who knew he had to demonstrate himself as more convincing. By a candidate who knew he had to earn for himself the esteem of an electorate needy for renewed trust, above all amid a quick economic downturn. And in these circumstances little import was given to the politics of color.

A very pragmatic choice, then, whose coming cannot be communicated by rhetoric affirmative of sides. Some have already read into yesterday's results the end of the "neocon revolution" heralded by Ronald Reagan and matured over the eight years of the Bush administration. Surely, the desire for change was palpable. But the election of Obama need not necessarily be analyzed as against something or other. Also because -- as the president-elect evidenced -- this is not a moment of vindication. Instead, it's a moment for unity and cohesion: "We are the United States of America," Obama said, recalling all to one common strength to overcome the difficulties of the present. It won't all be roses and flowers. Obama is clearly well-aware of this. Great challenges -- political, social, economical, moral -- await him. Beginning with the necessity of winning a consensus in the States of the Union where the conservative presence is strongest. Even this will be possible thanks to the impeccable acceptance of the vote's close on the part of McCain, who, with a statesman's exemplary sense, called the one elected "my president." With popular support Obama will be able to tackle the great questions at home and abroad.
PHOTO: L'Osservatore Romano